Infection of CD8+CD45RO+ Memory T-Cells by HIV-1 and Their Proliferative Response

Naveed Gulzar1, 2, Sowyma Balasubramanian3, Greg Harris2, 3, Jaime Sanchez-Dardon3, Karen F.T. Copeland*
1 National HIV and Retrovirology Laboratories, Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
2 Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
3 Ottawa Health Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada

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© Gulzar et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* National HIV and Retrovirology Laboratories, Public Health Agency of Canada, 200 Tunney’s Pasture Driveway Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0K9 Tel: 613-946-0365 Fax:613-948-4026 E-mail:


CD8+ T-cells are involved in controlling HIV-1 infection by eliminating infected cells and secreting soluble factors that inhibit viral replication. To investigate the mechanism and significance of infection of CD8+ T-cells by HIV-1 in vitro, we examined the susceptibility of these cells and their subsets to infection. CD8+ T-cells supported greater levels of replication with T-cell tropic strains of HIV-1, though viral production was lower than that observed in CD4+ T-cells. CD8+ T-cell infection was found to be productive through ELISA, RT-PCR and flow cytometric analyses. In addition, the CD8+CD45RO+ memory T-cell population supported higher levels of HIV-1 replication than CD8+CD45RA+ naïve T-cells. However, infection of CD8+CD45RO+ T-cells did not affect their proliferative response to the majority of mitogens tested. We conclude, with numerous lines of evidence detecting and measuring infection of CD8+ T-cells and their subsets, that this cellular target and potential reservoir may be central to HIV-1 pathogenesis.

Keyword: CD8+ T-Cell, HIV-1, memory, proliferation, subset.